Wednesday, September 17, 2014

HFVBT: Colin Falconer's East India -- Review and {Giveaway}


My thoughts
To me, few things are better than a great stand alone historical novel. I knew that the author had a talent for the historical fiction craft way back when I read, When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra, (in my pre-blogging days). And he does not disappoint with East India.

What the author does best in this novel is to really bring out the true grit of what travel by sea must have been like in the 17th century. I certainly can't imagine being on board a ship, in cramped and less than hygienic conditions, for seven to eight months at a time. And yet, this book had me feeling uncomfortable because it did make me imagine what it was like and I was thankful that when I was able to tear myself away from reading it, I was safely in my comfy home. And not only was there far from ideal comfort on board the ship, but there were constant undertones of danger and gossip. Mutiny seemed to always be a possibility among the ship's crew.

The main character, Cornelia, is a high ranking lady and beautiful as well. So, of course, she is admired by some and vilified by others, thinking she's haughty and high minded. What struck me about her was that she was just really unhappy. A loveless marriage and the thought of travelling to be with the man she did not love, coupled with the arduous sea journey could not have been a happy time for anyone. What befalls her only makes matters worse.

What we learn in East India is that a good portion of the seven deadly sins are very present aboard ship and this leads to a very tragic outcome. Not only is East India historically accurate (am I the only one who has never heard of a bosun or a provost?), but it also does an excellent job of showing us human nature through the vivid characterization and action. As I was reading, I could picture each character - what they looked like and what they were about. It was like watching a movie in my head.

The author has quite a back list of novels, some of which are sitting on my 'to be read/to be reviewed' stack, and after reading East India, I know I'm in for a treat in my future reading.

About the book
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Cool Gus Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction

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In any other circumstance but shipwreck, rape and murder, a man like Michiel van Texel would never have met a fine lady such as Cornelia Noorstrandt.

He was just a soldier, a sergeant in the Dutch East India company’s army, on his way from Amsterdam to the Indies to fight the Mataram. Such a woman was far above the likes of him.

But both their destinies intertwine far away from Holland, on some god-forsaken islands near the Great Southland. When their great ship, the Utrecht, founders far from home, surviving the Houtman Rocks is the least of their worries.

As they battle to survive and the bravest and the best reveal themselves for what they are, Cornelia’s only hope is a mercenary in a torn coat who shows her that a man is more than just manners and money.

He makes her one promise: ‘Even if God forsakes you, I will find you.’

But can he keep it?

Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India will keep you wondering until the final page.

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About the Author
Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.


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#EastIndiaBlogTour #HistFic #HistNov
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @colin_falconer @CoolGusPub

Four copies of East India are up for grabs! Two (2) print (U.S. only) and two (2) eBook (International). Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck!

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A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.

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9 comments:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

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  1. I have heard of a bosun but I think it may be something I learned from tv. Sounds like an interesting book.
    Great review!
    ~Litha Nelle

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  2. I've read Colin Falconer's novel about Cleopatra before in my teens. I expect another great novel from him.

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  3. This sounds amazing.


    I learn a lot through reading. Food cooked during medieval times for example.

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  4. This book looks good! Great review Michelle!
    I have learned quite a good deal on my short trek through Historical Fiction. Namely, it probably wasn't always as "Pretty" in the movies and people ate some disgusting things! LOL

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  5. Through reading The Invention of Wings, I learned of the remarkable contribution to abolition of slavery by the Grimke sisters, a new set of heroines for me.

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  6. I've learned a bit about Scottish history, such as the Battle of Culloden, as well as words and expressions in Scottish Gaelic and Scots, both insults and endearments, through Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

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  7. I learned that William Marshall, when he was a young child, was given to King Steven as a hostage to ensure his father's loyalty through reading the wonderful books of Elizabeth Chadwick, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, etc.

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  8. the more I read stories surrounding The Tudors, the more confused I get!!!!

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  9. Ship voyage books give me a bad case of claustrophobia!

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